Joyce Meyer - The Lost Son And The Elder Brother
How many of you've ever heard of the story of the prodigal son? Okay, well, we're gonna talk about that tonight, but I wanna tell you the truth. The story is really about a lot more than this one boy who wanted his inheritance, and took it, and went off and wasted it. It's actually about three different situations, all equally important. It's about the prodigal son, the young man who wanted to get away from mom and dad as quick as he could.
And that's not uncommon, a lot of young people, they just think, "Man, I gotta get outta here. Don't want anybody telling me what to do. Gonna move out on my own". And it's kinda funny because sometimes parents try to keep 'em home, but you know, you might just let 'em go and find out what the real world is like, that living in that apartment they wanna live in's a lot more expensive than living in mom and dad's bedroom somewhere, amen? You gonna have to put breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the table now, not somebody else, amen?
And so, the young man, he found out a lot about what life was really like, but he had to go find that out for himself. And of course, we'll go through the scriptures. But this story is majorly about the father, and it majorly represents the father heart that God has toward us and how desperately He wants those that are lost to come back to Him. But then, it's also about a real stinker of a guy called the elder brother.
And I tell you what, that guy, I was so much that guy. He was just like this religious, "I do it all right" guy that was judgmental and had no mercy on people who made mistakes. And so, we're gonna get into this, and I hope that you find something that's gonna be pertinent to your everyday life here.
Luke chapter 15 is a chapter that's all about searching for things that are lost, and that's what God does. He searches for people that are lost. And whether you've been lost your whole life, and you're here tonight or watching by TV, and you've never received Christ as your Savior, or whether you've backslidden and you've been lost for a couple of years, or whether you just really messed up royally in the last week and you've just been lost for a week. We could do that.
You know, even people that are born again and love God, I mean, don't you ever just get, like, "I feel like I've lost my footing. I feel like I was stronger in God than what I am now, and then somehow or another, I've kinda gotten off base. I've kinda wandered and kinda lost my way"?
So, whether you're, like, really lost, a little lost, or just a really little bit lost, God is looking for you. He's searching for you. And when He finds you, He's not gonna chastise you and tell you how bad you've been, He's gonna rejoice and have a party.
I don't know if you know it or not, but God really likes parties. I mean, if you study how many parties God had, and I mean, in the Old Testament, He commanded them to have parties. I mean, they had to do them. There are, like, 7 big feasts a year that were 6-7 days long. I mean, all they did was eat, and drink, and make merry, and dance, and party.
Well, you know what I've found out? Religious people don't like parties. Now, just so we're clear, when I say a religious person, I'm not talking about somebody who really loves God and is really committed. I'm talking about legalistic, rule-keepers who think they do everything right. They may go to church every week, they may give, they may even do a few good works. But here's the difference in a religious person and a christian, the religious person can do everything right but they don't have any real, intimate relationship with the father.
You know, you say, "Are you a christian"? "Well, I go to such-and-so church". I didn't ask you what denomination you were. I don't even like it when people ask me, "What religion are you"? I'd much rather you ask me, "Do you have a relationship with Jesus"? Amen?
So, that's what Christianity is, it's a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus where He doesn't want to just visit with you for 45 minutes on sunday morning if you feel like getting up and going, but He wants to get in everything that you do. He cares about everything you do. It's intimate, it's personal. You are the home, the house of God, and He lives in you, and you can't get any closer than that.